Can Google Hangouts Meet Replace Your Web Conferencing Provider?

In March 2017, Google split its enterprise-level conferencing and collaboration service, Google Hangouts for Work, into two new offerings – Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat – with the plan to make them both available as part of all “G Suite” subscriptions.

During its time, Hangouts for Work used a participant model that was “different” from other mainstream web conferencing offerings – it initially required that all participants had a Google account, and, for maximum efficiency, were logged into their account so that their interactions could be easily escalated to a Hangouts meeting.  While this model may have worked well within an all G Suite company, it fell apart quickly when trying to involve participants that are external to the company.  While Google did add the option to invite guests using a web link, Hangouts for Work remained optimized for those who were logged in to the messaging service. 

In contrast, Hangouts Meet is a video-centric web conferencing service that is designed to “make joining meetings effortless.”  The first paragraph of the Hangouts Meet announcement says “We've consistently heard from customers about ways we can improve Hangouts, like making it easier to work with external clients ...”.  Thus Hangouts Meet is optimized for the mainstream way of inviting participants: by simply sharing a meeting link via a calendar entry, an email invite, or a text message.

With the switch away from Hangouts for Work, does Hangouts Meet have a feature set that is robust enough to be an effective alternative to a leading supplier such as GoToMeeting? This research note considers the possibility by examining each offering’s capabilities along with a hands-on comparison for use as a mainstream meetings tool. 

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15 Jun 2017
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